The Beginning Of A Beginning

Snoopy, sitting on his doghouse.
Snoopy, sitting on his doghouse.

Snoopy, Charlie Brown’s pet beagle (from the comic strip, “Peanuts,” by Charles M. Schulz), thinks he’s a writer. He begins: “It was a dark and stormy night.” The science-fiction novel, “A Wrinkle in Time,” by Madeleine L’Engle also borrows this opening sentence.

This is perhaps one of the most well-known incipits in English literature. Its origin is the obscure 19th century novel, “Paul Clifford,” by Edward Bulwer-Lytton, published in 1830.

“It was a dark and stormy night” is only the beginning of its full opening line:

It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents—except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind, which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness.

h/t: THE PHRASE FINDER

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